After the release of our special feature on Catholic identity last December, many readers expressed an interest in telling their own stories about why they entered, left, or stayed in the church. We’re pleased to publish the second set of replies here. Catch up on the first here, and check back over the next several days for more.
I am a cradle Catholic, having spent seven youthful years in minor seminaries. I also have an advanced degree from a Catholic theologate that I earned at age 47. I still have faith, but I’ve left the institutional church. It has repeatedly chosen dishonesty in decision making while continuing to reject the recommendations of its own experts.
In 1976, the Pontifical Biblical Commission found that the New Testament said nothing against ordaining women to the priesthood. Pope Paul VI rejected its findings, along with recommendations of another committee concerning birth control. He seems to have wanted to avoid implying that his predecessor had erred. Then the International Commission on English in the Liturgy was gutted simply for following its charter. A faulty missal translation was consequently imposed by unnamed hierarchs. That was the last straw.
I have been entirely educated by Catholic institutions that taught me to first form, then trust, my conscience—aided by the sound reasoning of my mind. I can no longer go to Mass and experience the dishonest translation, the return of clericalism under the revised General Instructions of the Roman Missal, and the abandonment of “full, conscious, and active participation by all present.” The church’s dishonesty and disrespect for its own experts and sound reason have driven me from membership in the Roman Catholic Church.
St. Louis, Mo.